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Building the Bionic Man

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-can-make-him-better dept.

Biotech 129

nk497 writes "Will we soon be upgrading body parts like the components inside our PCs? 'Human enhancement' technologies are quickly evolving, making it easier to treat health conditions — and make us more powerful. Neural implants are already being used to restore vision, but in the future it could be used to give us better than 20/20 eyesight. Bionic arms will extend beyond prostheses, and be used to help boost our strength — handy for working in a warehouse and for soldiers. 'We use tools all the time to enhance our natural functions, and physical interaction is increasingly usurped by the virtual connections afforded by computers, smartphones and the internet,' said one researcher. 'So connecting these tools directly from the brain is perhaps not so far-fetched.'"

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Sure, if you're rich (4, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877333)

Bionic arms will extend beyond prostheses

Pretty sure my insurance company is just going to give me the standard hook. And if you're uninsured--you'll get a hand-me-down wooden stick.

Re:Sure, if you're rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877403)

Uninsured != poor

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877529)

When you're talking about what's necessarily true, sure. But the vast majority of those uninsured can't afford it in the united states. The GP was making a reasonable simplification. This is not really a reason to invoke a pointless political debate.

in the army you may get them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38878031)

Time for super solders

Re:in the army you may get them (0)

logjon (1411219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38881417)

Better make sure they're not lead-based.

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878939)

If the U.S. government is going to take over a process that is a simple data base consisting of patient data, and medical procedures; then wouldn't prosthetics be just another procedure for a patient? Given that prosthetics follow a standard formula as applied to the patient requirement, wouldn't an automated factory that builds the replacement part be the next level in the solution chain? Pardon the pun, but as the "kinks" are worked out, prosthetics with recovery therapies would then be handled on an out patient basics. Who needs a Billionaire Ego to lord over this?

Re:Sure, if you're rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877721)

Nobody gets rich without insuring their riches against loss.

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38880591)

!poor != able to afford health care in the U.S.

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877519)

Nah your insurance company only covers a whisk. (+100 nerd points if anyone gets the reference)

Re:Sure, if you're rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877817)

"Don't do anything to disrupt the timeline!" ...raises arm...

"Uh oh."

Re:Sure, if you're rich (4, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877837)

But think of the possibilities! Cake batter, and quiche batter, and pancake batter, and crepe batter, and mousse, and meringue, and whipped cream...

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877857)

+100 nerd points to you good sir.

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878987)

I was just thinking of a new line of prosthetics, referred to as "Johnson's"

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879631)

For $1000, what is "One thing you do not want attached to your arm, in place of your hand"?

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 2 years ago | (#38880161)

For anyone not in on the joke, it's from way back near the beginning of the webcomic, Schlock Mercenary [schlockmercenary.com] . (The art's a lot better now, and I recommend it to anyone interested in good, silly sci-fi.)

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877527)

Ah, I see you have the arm that goes "BING!"

Re:Sure, if you're rich (3, Insightful)

Mitsoid (837831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877565)

Yeah.. Insurance would never cover this...

The cost of a few days in a hospital, the cutting-edge new technology... Costs of therapy to adjust to a new limb...

will probably cost a few million dollars per limb...

So yeah... 1% of the country could ever afford it if the wealth gap keeps growing like it is

Re:Sure, if you're rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877777)

You can get a two legs, an arm and an eye for six million dollars.

Re:Sure, if you're rich (0)

FreeBSDbigot (162899) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877785)

if the wealth gap keeps growing like it is

In the US that gap has been closing for a few years, and by one measure [typepad.com] is back to the level it was around 15 years ago.

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38880653)

Yes, there was a blip, but the trend since the '60s has been the other way. You're the guy who says it was below freezing this morning here in Minnesota, there can't be global warming.

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877603)

With all the legislation against piracy recently, I doubt people will get hooks.

A small american flag prosthesis maybe?

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877937)

It's not a hook it's a "C" as in constitution. Anyway wasn't there something on the right to bear arms or something? What about legs?

Ah , gotta love the USA (1, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877793)

You pay your taxes so they can waste a trillion dollars doing nothing useful in Iraq apart from depose some old man who'd have been dead in 10 years anyway, but you have to take out insurance to cover hospital costs if you're ill else you can go die in an alley for all they care. I'm so glad I live in europe. Why you think your system of governence should be exported around the world beats the hell out of me.

Re:Ah , gotta love the USA (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877979)

so they can waste a trillion dollars doing nothing useful in Iraq

But then Europe complains we don't overthrow other dictators and wanted us to intervene in Libya. Seems we're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

I'm so glad I live in europe.

I'm glad you live in Europe too.

beats the hell out of me.

I'd love to. May i?

Re:Ah , gotta love the USA (1)

nine932038 (1934132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879075)

I'm genuinely curious. Have other countries really, truly explicitly asked the US to militarily intervene in the sovereign affairs of other nations? I often find myself a bit out of my depth with US/international relations, so I'd be much obliged if you could provide a link or two.

Re:Ah , gotta love the USA (4, Funny)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38880693)

Seems we're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

If we're damned anyway, let's don't. It's cheaper!

Re:Ah , gotta love the USA (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879651)

I think those who want to export American democracy are in the minority, at least in the elements of the country that doesn't watch FOX News. I understand that it's pretty much impossible to be isolationist anymore but I am generally of the opinion that we should stay out of the affairs of other countries.

Re:Ah , gotta love the USA (2)

rocket rancher (447670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879995)

I think those who want to export American democracy are in the minority, at least in the elements of the country that doesn't watch FOX News. I understand that it's pretty much impossible to be isolationist anymore but I am generally of the opinion that we should stay out of the affairs of other countries.

hmmm...I don't watch Fox News, and I don't want to export American democracy. What I want is a stable, predictable planet, and that means a stable, predictable America. As long as American democracy remains under the control of large corporations, that will eventually happen. Most corporations want stability and predictability. Unfortunately for the planet, there are several American companies who have a vested interest in global instability, and have been actively lobbying for an aggressive American foreign policy. Sadly, what is left of American industrial infrastructure belongs to these same companies -- companies whose bottom-line is primarily a function of American foreign policy, like Boeing, Lock-Mar, and Raytheon. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, these companies have been looking for some way to justify and sustain their manufacturing capability. They found it in the Carter Doctrine, [wikipedia.org] and they are successfully lobbying to make sure the current administration understands and acknowledges it, which Obama did in his recent SoU speech. If you have relatives in Iran, or pretty much anywhere near the Strait of Hormuz, I suggest you invite them to take a long vacation -- the sooner, the better.

Not for awhile (2)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877835)

Article reminds me of all those articles about "home robots" from the 80s, saying robots were the future and we'd all have robots in our homes in 10-20 years. So what do we have 20-30 yrs later? Roombas [wikipedia.org]

It will take a long time before we're taking out our nice, natural, perfectly working body parts and replacing them with circuit boards and servos. Sure, if you lose a limb and have a few hundred thousand dollars (probably tens of millions with inflation) you'll be able to buy a awesome arm or leg in 10-20 years, but don't expect the insurance companies to ever pay for it until they're cheaper than a metal claw.

And technically we've had the bionic man ever since the artificial heart in the 80s. [wikipedia.org]

Rather than strapping robotic parts to our bodies I think we're closer to building human-looking robots (androids, the other androids, not the phones) that go out and do tasks for us while we control them from the comfort of our home like in that movie Surrogates [imdb.com]

Re:Not for awhile (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878569)

Article reminds me of all those articles about "home robots" from the 80s, saying robots were the future and we'd all have robots in our homes in 10-20 years. So what do we have 20-30 yrs later? Roombas

Well, at least we got that movie Runaway [wikipedia.org] out of it. Of course, the home robots in that movie were a helluva lot cooler than a weak vacuum cleaner which can't even manage to navigate a over a seam in my carpet.

Re:Not for awhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38879425)

> we're closer to building human-looking robots (androids, the other androids, not the phones) that go out and do tasks for us while we control them from the comfort of our home...

Of course, were closer to that. Take Cyberskin, for example.

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877903)

Well at least rich people (or those living in countries where universal healthcare is considered a basic right) in could enjoy it.
There might even be a tv show like bionic makeover[tm]

Re:Sure, if you're rich (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878315)

(or those living in countries where universal healthcare is considered a basic right) in could enjoy it.

No problem. Universal healthcare is free for citizens and governments just print money. Free bionic accessories for everyone.

At least the U.S. uses its astonishing debt and money printing abilities for humanitarian causes such as keeping large banks from suffering a dip in their profit margins.

Re:Sure, if you're rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38881323)

Some people will get left behind - it's evolution!

Re:Sure, if you're rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38881533)

Bionic arms will extend beyond prostheses

Pretty sure my insurance company is just going to give me the standard hook. And if you're uninsured--you'll get a hand-me-down wooden stick.

Well i'll have a new lumbar spine right Hip Knee and Femur i may be able to walk more that 10 feet then and get my life back

Yaoi te nani? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877355)

Yaoi te nani?

i am already in line! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877377)

when these "parts" be available, i will definetely try it on !

Now (2)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877421)

with built in "bn-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n"

Re:Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38879023)

Ghost in the Shell [wikipedia.org] examines such implications fairly thoroughly.

Bodys are like Apples (3, Funny)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877433)

Open the case and you void the warranty.

...or Windows (3, Funny)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877725)

In which case the last thing you see will literally be the blue screen of death.

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38878189)

Wake me when I can get Goro-arms so I can jerk off while abusing my admin powers in counter-strike source.

No, they're like Microsoft. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878951)

There is no warranty.

God bless my 80/80 eyesight (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877435)

Even the prettiest of women now look like germ-laden toads at three feet distance...

Re:God bless my 80/80 eyesight (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877449)

Eyesight? Pfft, rather have Eidetic memory.

Re:God bless my 80/80 eyesight (1)

Krau Ming (1620473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877457)

except you'll be looking at them on a computer screen at three feet distance inside your existence cube.

This is old news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877453)

I have been getting emails about male enhancement for years.

Re:This is old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877727)

I have been getting emails about male enhancement for years.

Thank goodness the Head On people were not involved.

You guys knew I'd be chiming in... (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877465)

I'm a cyborg; the lens in my left eye was replaced by a device called a CrystaLens, which gives it better than 20/20 vision at all distances. After needing thick glasses all my life, not even needing reading glasses at age 60 is nothing short of miraculous.

However, had I not gotten a steroid-induced cataract that pretty much blinded that eye I'd not had the surgery, mostly because I wouldn't have been able to afford the surgery but partly because, well, would you let someone stick a needle in your eye if it wasn't an emergency and glasses or contacts would do the job?

All surgey is dangerous. People have died in dentists' chairs. The difference between people and PCs is we can't just unscrew a panel, replace a part, and screw the panel back in. We have knives and needles and danger of infection and other possible complications, machinery doesn't. We have to heal, and often need some sort of therapy after surgery.

A lot of folks who have had hips, knees, and other joints replaced must suffer additional pain and surgery because of faulty parts; there are several class action lawsuits going on now over defective parts.

However, rather than bionic parts replacement with enhancements for perfectly healthy body parts (which, as I mention, is dangerous), things like third arms, exoskeletons that allow us to lift hundreds of pounds, are already in development.

Bionics will most likely be for replacement of existing, faulty human parts rather than enhancing or "upgrading" human tissues unless we get McCoy's knifeless surgery.

Re:You guys knew I'd be chiming in... (2)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877547)

The difference between people and PCs is we can't just unscrew a panel, replace a part, and screw the panel back in

We also generally can't power the machine off while we're doing that either.

Re:You guys knew I'd be chiming in... (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877761)

Well, they sort of can. When I had a tonsellictomy at age 6 they used ether as an anesthetic -- AKA automotive starting fluid. Nasty shit, horrible trip, and talking to others who went under the knife with ether is was the same terrible nightmare.

However, when I had a hemmoroidectomy in 2002 the anestegiologist said "OK, you're going to sleep now." I replied after a few seconds "Uh, it's not working." He laughed -- "we're finished." They may not yet be able to shut us all the way off and not kill us, but they can put us in hibernate mode. You don't even know you were unconscious!

Re:You guys knew I'd be chiming in... (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878461)

They may not yet be able to shut us all the way off and not kill us, but they can put us in hibernate mode. You don't even know you were unconscious!

Cool story bro, but you kind of missed the point. They didn't shut you off, they just removed your awareness.

Maybe a car analogy will help. Your surgery was like working on a car that was idling in neutral. Your anesthesiologist was maintaining your airway and monitoring your vitals. If you were shut off, he wouldn't have been necessary.

There have been surgeries where hypothermia is induced to effectively shut the body down, but such a procedure is far from having fantastic results on a regular basis.

Well I don't know about you... (2)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877697)

"exoskeletons that allow us to lift hundreds of pounds"

I already can lift a few hundred pounds thanks to the training i've done in the gym for the 10 years. If these devices are going to be taken seriously they need to REALLY enhance strength , not just turn it up a notch or two. I'm talking about the strength to lift up boulders or cars etc, not just being able to draw at arm wrestling with the the local pub bouncer.

Re:Well I don't know about you... (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878029)

That isn't going to be as much a mass and leverage issue as it is a strength issue. And a toughness of skin issue, as you focus all that weight on a very narrow area where your fingers wrap around the edge of the car bumper.

Re:You guys knew I'd be chiming in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877971)

Minor enhancements period.

You lose an arm, if you replace it, what do you add, thermal shielding if you're a fireman, but you can't add too much since it will rip your should off.

Then there's all that crap about soldiers and warehouse workers. Again, weight limitations, you can have a robotic arm with extra strength, but when you lift something, even a piece of paper, you use muscles and bones from your entire body, not just your arm.
For soldiers ... well, if they need that extra strength in combat, then they're pretty much fucked. As for lugging stuff around, it's cheaper, safer, stealthier and logistically sound to have a drone do it for you. God knows, the US Army/Airforce/Navy is pretty much in love with those things.

Exoskeletons, will not take off, to be honest, it would be cheaper to develop better full body armor, stronger and lighter than the 47 year old kevlar. Ask sci-fi writters about this, they seem to have thought of these things decades ago.

As for the swapping parts like a PC, well, considering the poor software and security for pacemakers, you could try that and sadly it would be recommended.

Given the state of medical care in the US, I doubt that's where we'll see the first improvements. Or second. Maybe not even third.

Re:You guys knew I'd be chiming in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38878709)

In response to you saying it wouldn't be for replacing perfectly good body parts, I agree. We don't yet have the tchnology that would make a bionic arm as efficient as a real arm, for instance. For example, all that's required to power and maintain a real limb is to eat and exercise. A bionic or replacement arm currently requires an external power source (until we figure out how to use the energy from the body to power such a limb) and requires constant maintenance. Therefore in the contest of energy efficiency and robustness, the real human limb wins. Technology is a great tool, but we should hold up on the dreams of replacing our bodies, the most efficient "machine" man has ever made.

Welcome to Sci-fi jackass, where have you been? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877471)

Kids shows and cartoons have been covering this for like 50 years too.

Re:Welcome to reality jackass, where've you been? (3, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877675)

Kids shows and cartoons have been covering this for like 50 years too.

So if something has been consistently featured in kids shows or cartoons then it's entirely reasonable to expect it to show up in real life and totally not worthy of comment when it does? That's great! I'm looking forward to being able to buy my flying car soon, which i will use to commute to a wizard school where i can learn magic. Remind me to stay away from japan though. I'd like to avoid the tentacle monsters and i can always just import the cool mecha.

Choices choices (4, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877477)

I'm not sure if to go for the aggressive defence system, or the spy drone in my cranial slot.

Re:Choices choices (3, Funny)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877499)

The TSA would *NEVER* let you on a plane if you had the Typhoon installed....

Re:Choices choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38878119)

I schpeel my drink!

Re:Choices choices (2)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878455)

I'm not sure if to go for the aggressive defence system, or the spy drone in my cranial slot.

It's a bit premature to start worrying about nano-augs when we are only on the frontier of mech-augs. Better make sure you have a good line on a supply of Neuropozene.

Sometime in the future... Hey bro! (-1, Troll)

TheBouncer2006 (978273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877497)

Sometime in the future.......

Guy1: "Hey Bro I just got these cool upgrades, I got a LCD in my chest to personalize with my animations and stuff, some cool 20 digit fingers so can wail on my 18 string guitar, and my heart is now supercharged so I can perform better in next weeks football game"

Guy2: "Dude thats so cool... So did you go with Microsoft, Linux, or Apple Bionic Operating System?"

Guy1: (suddenly falls on the ground) on his LCD it reads "Were sorry a Fatal Exception Has Occured 0x000007B inaccessible Boot Device" please restart Windows Bionic and try again if this message reappears contact your nearest bionic manufacturer".

Guy2: That answers that... will the noobs ever learn? Pros don't use Windoze!

Re:Sometime in the future... Hey bro! (0)

TheBouncer2006 (978273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878935)

geeze try to be funny in forum that has a big linux base of participants and end up with a score of troll... thats a first...wasn't my goal to troll... people need to lighten up!

Re:Sometime in the future... Hey bro! (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879861)

Honestly? It wasn't really funny...it was kind of just dumb. I generally get a few chuckles from things around here but I really didn't laugh at all. This wasn't clever in any way. (D-): Would not read again.

Re:Sometime in the future... Hey bro! (1)

TheBouncer2006 (978273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879953)

Oh well.... you win some you lose some..

Not very impressive pictures (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877551)

If you're going to show how strong some augmentation suit is, showing the wearing carrying 3 mid sized bags of cement or an empty roadies case which any reasonably strong man could handle is hardly the killer image. Show them lifting a car one handed FFS!

Re:Not very impressive pictures (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877743)

agreed. those look about like 25# bags (~11-12kg) so 75# total. most teenagers with a strong back can easily haul that around, having a full grown man in an exosuit doing it is ridiculous. while the suit might not be able to handle cars, you'd think he'd at least be toting the bodyweight of a grown man.

One minor hurdle to overcome still.... (3, Insightful)

james_van (2241758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877585)

the interfacing between the brain and a computer is still a sticking point. granted, science is currently making some good progress, but we're still a ways out. once that gets solved reliably, things should get fun. especially if the interface has standardized connections and a publicly available API - realistically, you'd be able to by "bolt-on", disposable prosthetics at best buy someday (but snobs like me will buy them from newegg)

The future Ikea (2)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879859)

where everything is made out of meat balls.

1st Borg Joke! (1)

echo_kmem (982727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877595)

We are the Borg...erm Human. You will be assimilated. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.

Re:1st Borg Joke! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878685)

I beat you to it, [slashdot.org] but I wasn't joking. You will be assimilated. Not only is resistance futile, there will be no resistance. You will beg to become one of us. Blind or cyborg? Wheelchair or cyborg? Your choice... a futile choice.

I know quite a few cyborgs. You can't even tell us from normal, unenhanced humans.

Re:1st Borg Joke! (1)

echo_kmem (982727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879191)

Rats! You and that Bionic eye have bested me! Bah! =) Actually, Bionic hands would be rather 'handy' in a lot of ways.

It's all about the power supply, folks. (4, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877599)

All of this science-fiction turned reality is only as good as the power source. Jet packs, Aliens-style power loaders, autonomous humanoid robots, exoskeletons, electric cars. All useless without the über battery and we humans have been failing on that for decades.

Re:It's all about the power supply, folks. (3, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878009)

My bionic implant uses my eye's natural focusing muscle for power, and it works better than YOUR natural, unenhanced eye. And batteries and magnet tech and lower energy needs have been improving greatly over the last few decades. My old Star Tak analog phone lasted a day if I was lucky, my newer Motorola has a smaller battery and lasts several days. I think you're a bit too pessimistic.

And this IS science fiction turned reality -- we're in the 21st century, man! When Star Trek first came on the air when I was 14, there were no communicators (cell phones), flat screen displays, iPads (or "padds"), doors that opened automatically, McCoy's medical readouts (which we've surpassed), voice-activated computers (my Acer has that feature), space shuttles... to young folks there's nothing futuristic about STOS except the transporter, faster than light travel, and matter replicators. Back then it was all impossible fantasy.

Re:It's all about the power supply, folks. (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878999)

And batteries and magnet tech and lower energy needs have been improving greatly over the last few decades. My old Star Tak analog phone lasted a day if I was lucky, my newer Motorola has a smaller battery and lasts several days. I think you're a bit too pessimistic.

Your Motorola lasting several days on standby is a technological achievement but it is still way off the mark.
What we want is battery tech that will let the most powerful smartphones and "gaming" laptops last several days at full load .

Re:It's all about the power supply, folks. (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878057)

For larger parts (arms, legs) there should be enough room for a decent exchangeable lithium based battery pack. Add a USB plug for charging and you're ready to go. Ok the USB part was a joke, but the rest wouldn't be to hard to pull off.

Re:It's all about the power supply, folks. (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38880955)

Why wouldn't they just run off of your body's energy [smithsonianmag.com] ?

Re:It's all about the power supply, folks. (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878389)

Right! And the time to charge the battery matters as well. The ideal power supply would be some yet to be invented new generation ultra capacitor buffer as frontend to an efficient chemical battery backend that you could charge by briefly touching an 800.000 Volt line with a telescope antenna (say with 1.21 Gigawatt). But this ain't gonna happen anytime soon, especially not with this hypothetical ultra capacitor tagged in your body!

Re:It's all about the power supply, folks. (1)

0xG (712423) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878521)

I'll just drag around an extension cord, thanks.

working in a warehouse? (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877619)

isn't that wonderful, the thought of employers requiring those in manual labor to get cyborged to get a job. I know what is wonderful, the thought of fat cat oligarchs getting burked by a bionic arm......

Stekloblock (-1, Offtopic)

domstroi (2505744) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877683)

good post! spekloblok [s-comfort.kiev.ua] zyr'.

Ahem... +1 Stupidity (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877739)

Bionic arms will extend beyond prostheses, and be used to help boost our strength — handy for working in a warehouse and for soldiers.

Oh, really? As far as I can recall, how often does a factory worker get sidelined permanently because of an arm injury, or chronic arm pain, or a ruptured joint in an arm. If you get my drift... Call me when they have the bionic spine replacement to support the enhanced strength of the bionic arm--that would allow the arm to actually be useful.

Re:Ahem... +1 Stupidity (4, Funny)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878535)

"Overspecialization? Meet Planned Obsolescence. I'm sure you two will get along famously."

One word for you (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879017)

Exoskeletons

Bionic Shmionic (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877765)

Seriously, I don't care about mechanical parts. Wake me when I can get my arms replaced with real tentacles.

We have the technology... (2)

sharkey (16670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38877797)

... but don't want to spend a lot of money. [youtube.com]

The first thing that comes to mind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38877829)

is from The Big Bang Theory s04e01 - Robot Hand, where Howard gets his manhood stuck in his robotic arm!

Replacement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38878049)

Whenever I've heard stories about people taking their pc to the shop, I never hear "I got part X upgraded.", I hear "The man said it would be cheaper to buy a new one so that's what I did."

We have plenty of people.

Thanks (1)

wzinc (612701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878123)

But, I'm already more powerful than you could possibly imagine!

Where does the energy come from? (1)

sshirley (518356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878171)

I think this is all great news and a wonderful idea. We as humans are able to overcome mother nature and bend the world to our needs. However...this article talks about a future, which is certainly coming, where technology shapes our world. Where does the energy come from to power all this? I came to a revelation recently. I've watched all the documentaries, so I knew mentally that this was coming. But oil is coming to an end. Coal is coming to an end. Fossil fuels are coming to an end. I recently watched a documentary that said that coal was going to run out around 2040-2050. Whether or not this date is true, it will end. This documentary made me think...EVERYTHING is made from petroleum. Plastic cups. Cars. Computers. Chairs. Prosthetics! I was born in 1973 and will likely die around 2050. My ENTIRE life I have been accustomed to a world made from petroleum. Suddenly in my old age, I will live in a world that no longer has these resources. My life when I am elderly will change DRASTICALLY and horribly if we do nothing about our power situation. What does this revelation have to do this the parent post on bionic parts? When we build a world where we are no longer 100% and these parts require power to run...where is the power going to come from?

bionic hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38878473)

would welcome a bionic hand which will be enough powerful and will not cause pain.

got my shoulder dislocated for second time. Doctor says I will need surgery to put tacks to fix it. Its damn expensive though.

Fear (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38878615)

Another area where trivial patents, copyrights, company policies, government intervention and remote disabling could reign.

can't wait for this to go mainstream (1)

amunds0n (2562195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879097)

I'm going to get a heads-up-display installed over the lens of my eyes and I want it to show me all kinds of numerical data and probabilities whenever I look at something. Then I want an attachment so I can snap a fishing rod to my forehead and I will use it to catch more fish.

EOL (1)

erik_flannestad (472078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879213)

Can't wait until my health insurance company and employer weigh the cost/benefit ratio for component replacement versus end of lifing the whole device.

"I'm sorry, you've totalled out our potential benefit from your continued existence."

Windows EyeXP Genuine Advantage (1)

techsimian (2555762) | more than 2 years ago | (#38879311)

Your eye has not been authorized, please, visit Microsoft.com to authorize your eye.

hardwired in? in most cases, why bother? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38881067)

I think some people are over-thinking it with regards to bionics. Some replacements can and should be directly connected, like the replacement lenses for eyes, but beyond that, and excepting for other issues of biological senses being damaged, it's just about training yourself to use what senses and body parts that are naturally attached to make use of whatever's going to be "connected" to your body. For example: In effect, your cell phone is a cybernetic enhancement. How many of us twitch and check/send messages with our cell phone without giving it another thought? How many of us actually remember telephone numbers now? Our brains have rewired, and off loaded all our previously remembered contact information to our little auxiliary semi-attached computers. I say semi-attached because where do most of us really go without them now, and how do you feel when the services they supply are unavailable?

Now ask me how I feel about the idea that my cell phone provider is in effect, charging me/profiting off of/restricting use of what is becoming (effectively) part of my brain.

I've been waiting for the Deus Ex sequel (1)

klifford (2564585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38881145)

... I didn't imagine they'd go this direction with it though.

It's not all candy and rainbows... (1)

Krokus (88121) | more than 2 years ago | (#38881519)

In the future, I suppose sex between cyborgs will suffer new challenges, and the term "locking bumpers" will acquire a new meaning. Either that or we'll need a new USB standard,

If you're into Piracy.. (1)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 2 years ago | (#38881641)

and SOPA/PIPA have their way, they'll probably ensure you get a Hook [wikipedia.org] Prosthesis!

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